Skip to main content Skip to main navigation


Graph construction on complex spatiotemporal data for enhancing graph neural network-based approaches

Stefan Bloemheuvel; Jurgen van den Hoogen; Martin Atzmueller
In: International Journal of Data Science and Analytics, Pages 1-18, Springer, 2023.


Graph neural networks (GNNs) haven proven to be an indispensable approach in modeling complex data, in particular spatial temporal data, e.g., relating to sensor data given as time series with according spatial information. Although GNNs provide powerful modeling capabilities on such kind of data, they require adequate input data in terms of both signal and the underlying graph structures. However, typically the according graphs are not automatically available or even predefined, such that typically an ad hoc graph representation needs to be constructed. However, often the construction of the underlying graph structure is given insufficient attention. Therefore, this paper performs an in-depth analysis of several methods for constructing graphs from a set of sensors attributed with spatial information, i.e., geographical coordinates, or using their respective attached signal data. We apply a diverse set of standard methods for estimating groups and similarities between graph nodes as location-based as well as signal-driven approaches on multiple benchmark datasets for evaluation and assessment. Here, for both areas, we specifically include distance-based, clustering-based, as well as correlation-based approaches for estimating the relationships between nodes for subsequent graph construction. In addition, we consider two different GNN approaches, i.e., regression and forecasting in order to enable a broader experimental assessment. Typically, no predefined graph is given, such that (ad hoc) graph creation is necessary. Here, our results indicate the criticality of factoring in the crucial step of graph construction into GNN-based research on spatial temporal data. Overall, in our experimentation no single approach for graph construction emerged as a clear winner. However, in our analysis we are able to provide specific indications based on the obtained results, for a specific class of methods. Collectively, the findings highlight the need for researchers to carefully consider graph construction when employing GNNs in the analysis of spatial temporal data.

Weitere Links